scaling and replication

Supporting social enterprises to scale and replicate


Scaling impact is critical for social enterprises striving to eliminate poverty and advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Miller Center works with alumni of our accelerators to support their growth once they have a proven business model. Of the many ways to grow a business, our focus is on scaling and replication approaches. Scaling refers to organizations that grow their business models to multiply impact and revenues. Replication is the transfer of a business model to other social enterprises to multiply impact.


The first step of Miller Center’s ScaleOut program is to assess whether a business is ready to scale. We review these elements:

    • Market fit — a strong fit between the product or service and the market
    • Scaling mindset — leadership that is committed to scale
    • Reproducibility of the business model — standardization and modularization of the business model


When organizations are ready to scale, executive mentors accompany social entrepreneurs through building their scaling plans and the beginning stages of executing those plans.


Replication captures best practices, lessons learned, and expertise so other social enterprises can replicate a business without starting from scratch. Crucial know-how that helps social enterprises grow faster with less risk is shared using playbooks. Miller Center has written three playbooks — Last Mile Distribution, Microgrids, and Optical Glasses.

Playbooks are comprised of:

    • 12 modules covering all aspects of the business model
    • Best practices from pioneering social enterprises, industry experts, impact investors, and partners


Playbooks are a capital-efficient method to scale impact. In fact, a social enterprise that used the Last Mile Distribution playbook was able to achieve the same level of impact as an originating social enterprise that provided input into the playbook using X less capital.


What You’ll Get:

      • A 12-module course based on best practices from pioneering social enterprises, industry experts, investors, and other partners.
      • Structured mentorship to support you in launching and growing your microgrid or last mile distribution business


Seeking Partners

We are seeking partners to produce and use playbooks to proliferate successful business models in high-impact areas (e.g. solar energy, water, healthcare). Partners provide playbook content, industry connections, vetted playbook users, and/or funding.

What Is Last Mile Distribution?

Last Mile Distribution enterprises build distribution channels to hard-to-reach rural or urban populations for a range of beneficial products and services.

    • They fill gaps and reach areas that traditional distribution is not reaching
    • They operate either through fixed retail locations and/or through sales agents who travel door-to-door

What Are Microgrids?

A microgrid (or minigrid) is a set of small-scale electricity generators (and possibly energy storage systems) interconnected to a distribution network that supplies electricity to a small, localized group of customers and operates independently from the national transmission grid.

Learn More About ScaleOut

Curriculum and Mentorship

For mature organizations preparing to scale to new markets, ScaleOut is a 4-month mentored online program that is geared toward developing a comprehensive scaling execution plan. Social entrepreneurs who complete this program will come away with a developed scaling story that can be used with boards, funders, teams, and partners. Custom timing is determined by the entrepreneur through a diagnostic call and work plan. The mentorship and curriculum take approximately 4-months to complete.


Pages from Miller-Center-Replication-Scaling.final+(1)


Shift from running the business to understanding how your business is running

In this paper, we outline some of the challenges and opportunities facing social enterprises globally and describe how the Replication and Scaling Initiative is prepared to assist. We introduce current offerings from Miller Center, notably replication playbooks and ScaleOut master classes, and provide some examples of social enterprises that are embarking on their own replication or scaling endeavors.


We are poised for the continued growth of Miller Center’s Replication and Scaling Initiative.

Here is some of what we look forward to:

    • Raising awareness in the venture and philanthropic community of the attractiveness of replication and scaling.
    • Expand the curriculum and our partner network globally, to encompass other like-minded organizations including social enterprise accelerators, impact investors, and Catholic social ministries and similar local champions.
    • Expand our roster of Replication Playbooks based on partnerships and funding opportunities. We aim to develop playbooks in areas such as safe drinking water, artisanal models, and business process outsourcing.
    • Conduct ScaleOut and Hybrid mentoring with new enterprises to rapidly increase impact. Then, assess the experience and results of these efforts so we can learn more about ways to keep improving our offerings.
    • Train new mentors to increase our ScaleOut delivery capability.
    • Continue to leverage the value of Santa Clara University and student action research in social enterprise ScaleOut projects.